Volvo Cars has announced it will reveal the next-gen Volvo XC90 in 2022. The 2022 Volvo XC90 will be the first SPA2 platform model and debut the NVIDIA DRIVE Orin SoC as well, the company has confirmed.
Level 4 Autonomous driving with ‘Sentinel’
In addition to three-row seating and a host of new safety systems that make it a practical family SUV, the 2022 Volvo XC90 (and the pure electric variant) will boast highly autonomous driving assistance systems. Reports suggest that it will approach Level 4 autonomous driving, which is the first level of fully automated driving. In SAE Level 4, the vehicle can handle itself in most driving situations without input from the driver. The driver can rest or read a book, as he wouldn’t have to hold the steering.
The vehicle will demand large amounts of computing power for the smooth and safe functioning of its highly advanced autonomous driving technologies. The NVIDIA DRIVE Orin system-on-a-chip is capable of 254 tera operations per second (TOPS).
The NVIDIA DRIVE Orin-powered computer will work together with software developed by Volvo Cars and Zenseact. The sensor suites required for autonomous driving, such as the LiDAR technology developed by Luminar, are enabled by NVIDIA DRIVE Orin’s added computing power and graphics processing. Zenseact is an entity of Volvo Cars that focuses on autonomous driving systems and active safety software. Sentinel is expected to make vehicles equipped with it capable of Level 4 autonomous driving. At launch, the area operation could be limited to highways, though.
Luminar is a tech firm well-known for its LiDAR technology, partnering with Volvo Cars for the self-driving technology of its next-gen models since May 2020.
Luminar and Zenseact have partnered to produce a new autonomous driving system called Sentinel, and according to a Forbes report dated March 11, 2021, Sentinel will debut in the 2022 Volvo XC90 before spreading to other Volvo cars. Forbes reported that at the launch, Volvo, Luminar and Zenseact are activating highway driving capability where the 2022 Volvo XC90 can drive autonomously at highway speeds (at 60-70 mph) putting it far ahead of L3 systems of other car companies which are capped at 30-37 mph.
Volvo Cars’ announcement, however, stated ‘Highway Pilot’ as the name of the upcoming autonomous driving feature. The company said that the SPA2 platform models would be hardware-ready for autonomous drive right from the beginning, and the hands-free functions will be activated when the time is right.
2022 Volvo XC90 dual platform strategy
The next-gen Volvo XC90 Recharge (Electric) will ride on a skateboard platform. Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Cars, revealed the new development to Green Car Reports in March.
The Volvo XC40 Recharge and Volvo C40 Recharge have a T-shaped battery pack that has an impact on the cabin space. However, that won’t be the case with the Volvo XC90 Recharge, Green suggested. Volvo is developing the SPA2 platform for the next-gen XC90 (codename: Volvo V536) with a new type of solution.
Volvo is building the SPA2 platform with two unique floor assemblies, one for the hybrid variant partially running on fossil fuel and one for the fully electric variant. Green said Volvo plans to manufacture the floors in parallel on separate lines.
One floor is built around the flat battery with an e-machine in front and rear, very much the skateboard approach that you see pure electric vehicles are built on today. And there is another floor which is completely different, built with a combustion engine in the front, the prop shaft, an exhaust system, a fuel tank in the rear.Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Cars
EVs developed on a dedicated platform can be designed freely and unconventionally, opening avenues for new body styles or reinvented body styles. It is possible to achieve more interior space in smaller dimensions thanks to the flat floor and no engine compartment. “There are advantages if you build your technology and your architecture around electrification only,” Alexander Petrofski, Head of Strategy & Business Ownership, Volvo Cars, said, as per a report from news.com.au. “We are absolutely pursuing the track of dedicated fully electric-only architecture,” he added.
The launch of the third-gen Volvo XC90 (codename: Volvo V536) next year will mark the beginning of the Volvo 90 Series’ full electrification. The SPA platform that debuted in the second-gen Volvo XC90 back in 2014 is there to stay, although Volvo will thoroughly upgrade it for the next-gen models. Called SPA2, the upgraded SPA platform will be ready for complete electrification. According to a report from teknikensvarld.se, we presume that Volvo will offer the next-gen XC90 in “B” mild-hybrid, “T” plug-in hybrid, and “P” pure electric variants.
Volvo XC90 Recharge
The all-electric Volvo XC90 Recharge should have a battery pack with an energy storage capacity of over 100 kWh, built of 30+ cell modules. With two motors, each generating over 200 PS (197 hp) and 800-900 Nm (590-664 Lb.-Ft.), the first-ever Volvo XC90 electric SUV will be able to provide a “sports car acceleration.” The top speed will be limited to 180 km/h (112 mph) in line with Volvo’s standard safety measures.
Dimensions & Seating
The next-gen Volvo XC90 will be longer than 5 meters (196.9 inches), as per the report. For reference, the current model measures 195 inches in length. The usage of lightweight materials like aluminum and carbon fiber will keep the weight of the next-gen model’s body in check. Customers will have a wide range of seating configuration choices: 1+2, 2+2, 2+3, 2+2+2, and 2+3+2.
Android infotainment system
Volvo Cars will build the next-gen XC90’s infotainment system on the Android Automotive OS, referred to as Android OS. The company started employing Android OS-based infotainment systems in 2019, beginning with the XC40 Recharge.
Compared to the current-gen XC90’s infotainment system (pictured above), the Android-powered experience should be snappier, intuitive, and offer more connectivity. It would have Google apps and services like Google Play, Google Maps, and Google Assistant. Customers can personalize their in-car experience using hundreds of apps by Volvo Cars, Google, or third-party developers. OTA software updates will allow them to keep their vehicle evolving and improving over time.
2022 Volvo XC90 Production & Release Date
Unlike the current XC90 that is manufactured in Europe, the next-gen 2022 Volvo XC90 will roll out of the company’s American plant located near Charleston, South Carolina, as per a report from autonews.com. Production and U.S. launch of the hybrid variants may begin in late 2022, and the all-electric Volvo XC90 Recharge would follow in the first half of 2023.
Volvo Cars announced in March that it plans to become a fully electric car brand by 2030 and launch five electric models in the coming years, including the next-gen Volvo XC90 Recharge, all available exclusively online to customers.
The current-gen XC90 is one of the best-selling Volvo cars worldwide. Last year, with sales of 92,458 units, it was the third most popular Volvo. It retained the third spot in January 2021 (7,564 units), February 2021 (6,808 units), March 2021 (9,893 units), and April 2021 (9,371 units).
Featured Image Source: Volvo